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April 2013 – Paddock to plate

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Jack Burton, Managing Director of the Yeeda Pastoral Company, is taking on the big supermarkets with his direct farmer to consumer retail approach.
In 2012 Yeeda successfully launched a “no frills meat” retail outlet in Broome, and is planning similar outlets for Geraldton and other key rural locations.

“We want to sell 50-100 beasts per week so we want lots of people buying bulk meat. Because we are producers the business objective is more volume, more stock at a better price.” shares Jack. Unlike Coles and Woolworths, which are distribution outlets primarily focused on maximizing yield per shelf space, and the price per kilo, Yeeda is in the business of selling more cattle and sheep. “Us doing this is more profitable than supplying into the traditional retail supply chain.

In March 2012 Jack purchased the Gingin small stock abattoir on Gingin Brook Road. The purchase of the abattoir was driven by the desire to manage the full supply chain from paddock to consumer. The business is a part of a bigger operation, Kimberly beef pastoral company with a cattle herd of 60,000 head and sheep properties in Chapman Valley with 15,000 sheep. They also work closely with Gingin abattoir Borrellos to process beef.

Jack recalls, “The purchase wasn’t originally on our radar, basically it became available and we couldn’t ignore it. Funny at the time you couldn’t give away an abattoir and then came the live export trade issues which had the devastating overnight impact to cattle sales. We have since had three offers to buy it as producers seek new alternative solutions.”

Yeeda retail experience to date suggests they have two types of customers – those who just want to protest against the big retailers and country people who understand buying in bulk and who appreciate the story of low fuss, good tasting, grass fed rangeland meat.

“This is not for everyone, there is nothing in our shops that resembles Coles and Woolworths or a local butcher. We offer a no frills solution everything is vac-packed in fridges, no butcher on site. The reason the price is kept low is that the product is simple, with limited processing and minimum sales of 1 kilo or more. Jack shares, “This is not for those looking to buy tonight’s dinner this afternoon”.

The Yeeda outlets also offer a range of old fashioned high tasting meat options that seem to be long gone from the supermarket shelves like mutton
and hogget. Jack shares, “Coles can’t afford to fi ll their shelves with this low cost meat but for us we want to sell all our produce at the best possible price not just the premium lambs”.

Jack is hopeful that in the future consumer demand will outgrow his capacity and he will be able to bring other producers on board to increase volume
of meat to service the growing direct domestic market as well as his export market, sold under the label Australian Rangeland Meat.